We stand with Rappler as they are ordered to shutdown

The Philippines government is forcing news site Rappler to cease its activities. Index on Censorship stands with Rappler and their defence for press freedom in the country. We publish their statement below

29 Jun 2022

Dear readers and viewers,

We thought this day would never come, even as we were warned in the first of week of December last year that the Securities and Exchange Commission  (SEC) would be handing down a ruling against us. Because we have acted in good faith and adhered to the best standards in a fast-evolving business environment, we were confident that the country’s key business regulator would put public interest above other interests that were at play in this case. We were, in fact, initially relieved that it was the SEC that initiated what appeared to us as a customary due diligence act, considering our prior information that it was the Office of the Solicitor General that had formed, as early as November 2016, a special team to build a case against us. We were wrong. The SEC’s kill order revoking Rappler’s license to operate is the first of its kind in history – both for the Commission and for Philippine media. What this means for you, and for us, is that the Commission is ordering us to close shop, to cease telling you stories, to stop speaking truth to power, and to let go of everything that we have built – and created – with you since 2012. All because they focused on one clause in one of our contracts which we submitted to – and was accepted by – the SEC in 2015. Now the Commission is accusing us of violating the Constitution, a serious charge considering how, as a company imbued with public interest, we have consistently been transparent and above-board in our practices. Every year since we incorporated in 2012, we have dutifully complied with all SEC regulations and submitted all requirements even at the risk of exposing our corporate data to irresponsible hands with an agenda. Transparency, we believe, is the best proof of good faith and good conduct. All these seem not to matter as far as the SEC is concerned. In a record investigation time of 5 months and after President Duterte himself blasted Rappler in his second SONA in July 2017, the SEC released thisruling against us. This is pure and simple harassment, the seeming coup de grace to the relentless and malicious attacks against us since 2016:

We intend to not only contest this through all legal processes available to us, but also to fight for our freedom to do journalism and for your right to be heard through an independent platform like Rappler. We’ve been through a lot together, through good and bad – sharing stories, building communities, inspiring hope, uncovering wrongdoing, battling trolls, exposing the fake. We will continue bringing you the news, holding the powerful to account for their actions and decisions, calling attention to government lapses that further disempower the disadvantaged. We will hold the line.  The support you’ve shown us all this time, and our commitment to tell you stories without fear, give us hope.  You inspire courage. You have taught us that when you stand and fight for what is right, there is no dead-end, only obstacles that can only make us stronger.  We ask you to stand with us again at this difficult time. –

This statement was originally posted here on the Rappler site

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